Horticulture Help Desk
VCE Master Gardener volunteers can answer your horticultural and environmental questions. Year round citizens can call the Extension Horticulture Help Desk at 703-792-7747 visit the Extension office Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 8033 Ashton Avenue in Manassas Virginia or send an e-mail to the Master Gardeners.
VCE Master Gardeners can assist in diagnosing disease and cultural or insect problems; advising about lawn and plant care; identifying plants and weeds and providing other information relating to the landscape. It is especially helpful to bring in a specimen of the ailing plant to help the diagnosis.
Here are some tips for collecting and packaging samples:
- For disease/problem diagnosis: Provide a sample showing both diseased and healthy tissue on the same sample. For proper diagnosis samples should have stems or branches 12 inches long or longer. Individual leaves are not sufficient. Please provide a freshly collected sample.
- For plant identification: Provide as many parts of the plant as possible including flowers or berries if available. Provide a freshly collected sample.
- For turf: Submit a sample 6" to 8" square from the margin (edge) of the affected area that contains both healthy and problem grass. Include the root system to a depth of 3-4" deep. For identification of a lawn weed provide the entire plant if possible.
- For insects: Collect one or more complete insect specimen(s) and place them in a sturdy plastic container (such as an old pill bottle). Live insects can be stored in a container in your home freezer for an hour and then brought in.
Please do not bring snakes alive or dead! Instead provide either a photograph or description of coloring patterns overall length and head shape. Click here for the Snake in the Basement document.
You may also visit the LINKS page for informative publications available on the Internet.